Rangel remains under fire - The Ticker
Representative Charles B. Rangel, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has been able to hold on to his position despite investigations into his recent financial dealings.
But questions still remain about the $2 million earmark that Rangel injected into a project for CCNY. Thanks to his efforts, one of the college’s buildings will house the Center for Public Service, the Rangel conference center, the Charles Rangel library, and an office for himself.
Some have gripes with the fact that tax dollars are being spent to commemorate a building after a politician.
“We call it the 'Monument to Me,' because you're creating, or the person - in this case Congressman Rangel - is creating a monument to himself,” said Republican Congressman John Campbell from California in a CBS interview.
But CCNY spokeswoman Mary Lou Edmondson told CBS that the purpose of this center is to get minorities involved in politics.
“This is an effort to make sure that America's government looks like America,,” she said.
Despite the good intentions, reports show that Maurice R. Greenberg, AIG chief executive, sponsored the fundraisers for Rangel, and in 2007, a foundation controlled by Greenberg gave $5 million to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College. While Rangel received this money, he was said to have supported a provision in a tax bill that saved the company AIG millions of dollars, according to the New York Times.
Mathew Beck, a spokesman for Rangel, said that the chairman has never given any special treatment to AIG.
Aside from the fundraising for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College, the congressional ethics investigation includes unreported personal assets, like his failure to report, or to pay taxes on, his villa in Dominican Republic. He also reportedly accepted four rent-stabilized apartments in Manhattan. This may have violated the ban on taking gifts worth more than $50.
Many Republicans have said Rangel should be removed from his position as chairman since he disclosed inaccurate amounts of assets and income. But on Oct. 7, 2009, House Democrats blocked a Republican effort to remove Rangel. The 246-to-153 vote instead referred the demand to the ethics panel, which has been studying the case for more than a year.
According to the most recent campaign finance disclosure statements, Rangel’s campaign dollars has dropped by nearly half this year from the previous election cycle.